Helene Elliott of the LA Times reports that tonight — for the first time since Oct. 14 — Jason Blake will suit up for the Anaheim Ducks.
Blake suffered a catastrophic wrist injury against San Jose in Anaheim’s third game of the season. His forearm was slashed by the skate of Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, causing severe tendon damage that required surgery. Blake actually left the ice on a specialized stretcher that kept his arm upright (here’s rough video footage of the incident.)
“It’s been a tough, long road that I had to go down,” the 38-year-old Blake said. “It’s been an uphill climb and I feel like I finally got to the top of the hill.”
This isn’t the first time Blake has faced adversity. In 2007 he announced he’d been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia — a rare, but highly treatable form of cancer. Blake went on to play all 82 games for Toronto that season and capture the Bill Masterton Trophy.
As for where Blake will play tonight? He’s been practicing on an “old-guy” line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, though it’s hard to imagine Blake playing a full slate of shifts/big minutes after missing so much time.
“Initially, he’s missed 38 games so we don’t really know what we’re going to see,” coach Bruce Boudreau told the OC Register. “I know he’ll have a lot of energy but we’ll see how long the energy lasts. It’s tough to come back, it’s almost like a training camp revisited for him type of thing.”